Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Newly Read Authors 2015


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Newly Read Authors 2015 |

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, we’re taking a look at some of my favourite newly read authors of 2015. From debut authors published in recent years to firmly established literary masters with a huge repertoire to their name, these are the writers whose work has crept to the top of my reading pile. In no particular order, here are ten of my favourites:

| 1. |

Michael J. Sullivan

with Theft of Swords

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| 2. |

Becky Chambers

with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

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| 3. |

Brent Weeks

with The Way of Shadows

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| 4. |

Pierce Brown

with Red Rising

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| 5. |

Bernard Cornwell

with Azincourt

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| 6. |

Victoria Schwab

with A Darker Shade of Magic and Vicious

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| 7. |

Helen Lowe

with The Heir of Night and The Gathering of the Lost

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| 8. |

Anthony Ryan

with Blood Song

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| 9. |

David Gemmell

with Morningstar and Knights of Dark Renown

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| 10. |

Kim Stanley Robinson

with Red Mars

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Who are your favourite newly read authors of 2015? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Thanksgiving Bastards


Top Ten TuesdayWelcome to Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly feature hosted by those lovely bookworms over at The Broke and the Bookish. Expect a new top ten list every week!


| Top Ten… Thanksgiving Bastards |

Nothing makes a good book like a good bastard which is why, for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I’m choosing ten of the most greedy, selfish and devious bastards to grace my bookshelves. And I’m thankful for every single one. These are the pirates, felons and twisted torturers; the characters who do the wrong thing at every opportunity, who lie and cheat and steal yet somehow always manage to come out sunny side up. In no particular order, give thanks for these magnificent bastards:

| 1. |

Sand dan Glokta

The First Law by Joe Abercrombie

Crippled war hero. Torturer. Complete bastard. Glokta is an Inquisitor in the Union’s House of Questions who uses his cunning and intelligence to extract more than just fingernails from his guests, and he does it all with a good dose of cynicism. He is one man you do not want on the other end of the thumb screws… unless, of course, he is on your side.

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| 2. |

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Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

Littlefinger is a sly manipulator. Cunning and ruthless, he has worked his way up from nothing to become a master of coin and court intrigue. Unfortunately for those who either cross or underestimate him, Petyr Baelish is at his best when he’s dancing his puppets on their strings… take care that you’re not one of them.

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| 3. |

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‘Gentleman’ Johnny Marcone

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Johnny Marcone, the crime lord of Chicago and ruler of its dark and (almost) human underworld is not a man you cross lightly… unless your name is Harry Dresden. Marcone is a skilful and ruthless ‘business’ man who’ll stop at nothing to get his own way. Only be careful who you cross, he might just have something which resembles a heart beneath his slick, suited and deceptively ordinary exterior.

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| 4. |

Nicomo Cosca

The First Law by Joe Abercrombie

Nicomo Cosca – soldier of fortune, womaniser, drunk. Beneath the flamboyant exterior, flaking scalp and drooping moustaches lies a treacherous snake who would sell his own mother for an extra coin. With damn good luck and a surprising talent for warfare, this repulsively lovable rogue always seems to find himself on top… with  a bottle of Styria’s finest in hand, of course.
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| 5. |

Victor Vale

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Victor Vale is not just a bastard, he’s a super-human, pain-wielding, morally deficient bastard. Sure, he might just keep you alive… if it suits him… but he’s the best of a bad-bunch-of-evil-bastards and needs must. Or so they say.

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| 6. |

Locke Lamora

The Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch

And you certainly can’t have a list of Bastards without including at least one Gentleman Bastard. Locke Lamora is a thief and a con-artist, a cunning liar skilled in the art of deception, and a man who could have Camorr, Tel Verarr and Karthain in his pocket if he wasn’t far better at losing all his gold than he was at making it.

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| 7. |

Thalric

Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Aggressive, driven and unflinchingly loyal to his ideals, Major Thalric of the Rekef Outlander will stop at nothing to paint The Lowlands in stripes of black and gold. With an impressive résumé which includes back-alley murders, political assassinations and a penchant for torture, this is one (of many) Wasps you don’t want in your path.

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| 8. |

Jerek Mace

Morningstar by David Gemmell

Jerek Mace is the Morningstar – a legendary hero whose defeat of evil has long been prophesised. Except Jerek Mace is a liar, a thief and a complete bastard. When avoiding his heroic duties you may find him womanising, pilfering, murdering and shamelessly running away after committing wanton acts of banditry. Behold! The hero of old!

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| 9. |

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Darian Frey

Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding

Womaniser. Morally bankrupt. Thief. Bastard. Captain Darian Frey is rogue and a pirate who would quite literally steal candy from a baby… with the deepest of sympathy, of course. But be warned, accuse him of the one crime he didn’t commit and you’re going to have a whole heap of trouble on your hands.

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| 10. |

Mulch Diggums

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

And bastards aren’t just limited to books for adults either. Mulch Diggums is a kleptomaniac dwarf who comes in handy in a tight spot but not without making you pay for it again… and again… and again. Under a myriad of aliases Diggums, his repulsive body odour and what can only be called a ‘bum-flap’ take breaking and entering to a whole new level. Easy-Breezy.

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Who is your favourite literary bastard? If you would like to join in with Top Ten Tuesday, head on over to The Broke and the Bookish and sign up!

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The Monthly Round-Up: August 2015


The Monthly Round-Up - augWelcome to the first post in my Monthly Round-Up feature. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!


| Books Read |

August Reads

August was pretty much my first month in the bookoblogosphere and, barring a few missed posts here and there, I don’t think it’s gone too badly! Over the course of this month I managed to get through ten books. Not bad. I even finished all those neglected classics that had begun to stack up on my currently reading pile. Hurrah! One goal complete and reviews for said classics will be appearing shortly! I’m moderately happy with ten books (actually, very happy!) but I would have liked to see more fantasy in the mix. I was obviously deceived by my reviews of fantasy novels from other months. Oh well, there’s nothing like self-deception to spur on new goals! So without further preamble, in order of reading, here are this month’s time consumers:

| 1. |

Agamemnon by Aeschylus

| 2. |

Inquisitor by Mitchell Hogan

| 3. |

The Somnambulist by Essie Fox

| 4. |

Armada by Ernest Cline

| 5. |

Doctor Who: The Drosten’s Curse by A.L. Kennedy

| 6. |

Pigs Have Wings by P.G. Wodehouse

| 7. |

The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

| 8. |

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

| 9. |

Hard Times by Charles Dickens

| 10. |

Persuasion by Jane Austen 


Book of the Month


8

A Darker Shade of Magic

by V.E. Schwab


| August Goals |

To finish the classics on my currently reading pile (Agamemnon, Pigs Have Wings, The ABC Murders and Hard Times) 

Status: Completed


| Goals for 2015 |

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: 82/100 Books Read (82%)

Status: +10% during August

Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge: 36/50 Books Read (72%)

Status: +12% during August


| Reviews Posted |

August has been a month of very good reviews, most of which were at the four and a half (heart shaped) star level! The highest rating given was five stars (awesome!) and the lowest rating given was three (still a good read!). Here’s the run-down:

5 Stars

3

The Scarab Path by Adrian Tchaikovsky


4 and a half Stars

4

The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd

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The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe

5

The Somnambulist by Essie Fox

8

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

9

Morningstar by David Gemmell


              4 Stars

2

Inquisitor by Mitchell Hogan


                  3 and a half stars

6

Armada by Ernest Cline


                                  3 Stars

7

Doctor Who: The Drosten’s Curse by A.L. Kennedy


| Other Posts From August |

The Month Ahead: August 2015 

Blast from the Past: The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner

Bookish Beats: The Machine OST

Bookish Beats: The Secret Garden OST

Bookish Beats: Röyksopp – The Inevitable End

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Authors on my Bookshelf

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Auto-buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books in Escapology 101

The Rapid Review: Crime Classic Firsts

N.B. Reviews can also be found in the Blast from the Past and The Rapid Review features

Review: Morningstar by David Gemmell


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Morningstar

by David Gemmell

Fantasy | 321 Pages | Published by Orbit in 2014


| Rating |


David Gemmell is one of those authors that every fan of fantasy fiction should have read; unbelievably this was my first. Needless to say, I need more Gemmell in my life! Morningstar was a fantastic introduction into his writing; exciting, fast paced, and overflowing with ne’er-do-wells and reluctant heroes. If, like me, you need a starting point for the Gemmell catalogue, Morningstar will not disappoint.

The Angostin forces are storming the Highlands; murdering, pillaging and laying waste to everything that lies in their path. The people are deserting their towns and villages, fleeing into the bandit infested forests beyond; they have but one hope – the Morningstar.

Owen Odell is a storyteller, a worker of magic who spins his power into the tales he tells. A chance encounter in a darkened alley changes his life forever when he meets Jarek Mace – liar, thief and outlaw. With war threatening the Highlands, Odell finds himself attached to Mace and his merry band of misfits who turn their acts of banditry against the invading Angostin force – a mutually beneficial arrangement which both rallies the people and makes Mace a hell of a lot richer.

Rumour is rife, could Mace be the legendary Morningstar come to save the oppressed masses? Through skirmishes and battles, and facing darker forces than just an invading army, the ultimate question remains – will Mace run (presumably with all your gold and quite possibly with your wife) or will he stand and fight?

Morningstar weaves history, myth and legend into a fantasy narrative to create a rich and almost believable tale. The overriding conflict of the Angostins and the Highlanders is reminiscent of Edward I’s campaigns against Scotland and Wales, creating a vivid backdrop for a story which underlines the struggle between freedom and oppression. The clear influences from history give the story a sense of realism which may have otherwise been lost in a tale of magic and supernatural evil.

The comparisons to Robin Hood are similarly well deserved; outlaws and banditry abound, refuge is sought in the depths of the forests, and rich Angostins are relieved of their gold which, ever reluctantly, is bestowed upon the poor masses. This is a reweaving of the Robin Hood legend – a Robin Hood who despite all intentions to murder and pillage ends up, however unintentionally, helping others and fighting for the common good.

Gemmell’s writing is fast paced and fluid, describing the world and its inhabitants in vivid detail. The whole band of characters are given dimensionality; cutthroats, prostitutes and thieves alike. The first person perspective, in which the narrator is describing the life of another character, works incredibly well. Owen Odell plays the part of naïve narrator superbly; he is the moral compass of the tale caught up in a world completely alien to him, and this secondary perspective works to emphasise the complexity and duality of Jarek Mace’s character.

Mace is a wonderfully reluctant hero. His motives are always questionable, his true feelings hidden from us. There may have been more fights and battles if the narrative had been told from Mace’s perspective but we would have lost the most important and vital part of the story. The true beauty of this tale is that we never know what Mace is really thinking or what his intentions are, and despite any good or bad outcome we can never know if it was done for completely selfless or selfish reasons. Jarek Mace will always remain an enigma.

Morningstar is a short but gripping tale full of intriguing characters. The momentum is carried with excitement and humour and ultimately reaches a satisfying, if somewhat hurried, conclusion. My first foray into the work of Gemmell was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and one which had me reaching for the next Gemmell book as soon as Morningstar closed.

Knights of Dark Renown, also by David Gemmell, will be reviewed shortly.

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

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